Going Smartphone for $12

After holding out for many years, I got my first smartphone last month. The decision to make the switch was one I didn’t take lightly, but the plan I was on ended and I had to get a new phone. Up in till the switch I was still using my very first ever and only cell phone, a no name Samsung flip phone which I had gotten back in 2008. Prior to that I had no phone, but in 08′ I started going to college and working part time on an ambulance, and after a brief stint with a land line it became apparent that I needed to get a cell. So I joined my uncle’s family  cell phone plan and got a flip phone that was tough as nails and lasted me 8 years. The thing is still working, though now it’s turned off and put to rest in the bottom of my sock dower. 

phone crpoed2
But seriously, how am I supposed to fit this thing in my pocket? (The first thing a flip phoner thinks when they get a smartphone)

The old flip phone was costing me 15$ a month with unlimited texting because it’s really important to have unlimited texting on a flip phone (joking). But here’s the deal, my new smartphone COST LESS THAN THE OLD FLIP PHONE!  Yes, you heard me right, last months bill for the smartphone was 12.77$ beating my old plan by a solid 2 bucks a month. I have a theory as to why this is. My smartphone bill is low because I used almost no data, except when on wifi. But smartphone plans are made to make money off of data usage, calling and texting is not where they make their money. Dumb phone plans like my old one can only make money off of calling and texting, so they really charge you for it. Of course, there is always the potential that I might decide to stream a movie with data on my smartphone and then it’s not so cheap anymore. But for someone like myself who has never had a smartphone before and doesn’t even know how to watch a movie on a phone, that’s hardly an issue. I turned all the apps data usage off under settings, with the exception of Google maps, and have not found any hardship in not using data. I even got an Instagram account with the new phone, but I wait to upload photos till there is wifi, so I use almost no data on it.

Continue reading “Going Smartphone for $12”


The Staycation Vaction


After requesting a chunk of time off from work over winter break, I decided to stay at home. So far it’s been a great vacation, I’ve been skiing, biking, going to yoga, cross fit, working on long overdue projects, dinner with friends, oh and starting this blog. There is a certain joy to be found in hanging out at home during the snowy months. The routine of splitting wood, stoking the fire, feeding the chickens and collecting eggs, shoveling snow, and getting ten plus hours of sleep a night is somewhat addictive. Not to mention the mad frugality and sustainability points for not driving, heating with my own firewood, and eating eggs from our chickens every morning for breakfast.IMG_20160114_182835615 Throw in a few backcountry powder ski days, evening soaks in the hot tub, and you have a fine Staycation indeed. Perhaps this could be looked at as a glimpse of early retirement. One might be concerned about running out of things to do. On the contrary, the list of potential projects, plans, and possibilities for enrichment is ever-growing in the back of my mind. I’m in no way ready to go back to work.

That said Chase and I are going on a 4-day bike trip to Southern Arizona at the end of my time off. It is good to get out of town, from time to time. After years of dirtbag climbing trips, we are both well versed in spending long periods of time living in our vehicles on next to no money. These days we have moved on to mountain biking trips. Which are similar, but given the shorter duration and advent of full-time work in both our lives there are more hot showers and meals eaten out on our trips these days.IMG_0175

How to save 375$ a month

Financial independence is about how much you save, not how much you make. Make it happen, and put those dollars to work.

  1. Get a free hot tub. No really the benefits of having a hot tub at your house is invaluable. First your friends come to you, and they often bring beer. This saves you the expense of going downtown, to a trendy bar, and buying expensive drinks. Instead social hour happens while soaking in the hot tub. which is really nicer than a noisy bar downtown anyway and is more conducive for earnest conversations and meaning full discussions. (see how to get a free hot tub).  Saving one trip to bar a week = 15$ x 1 month = 60$
  2. Hang your clothes out. There is rarely a good reason for using a dryer. Put up a clothesline, and in winter make an indoor rack.  One large load = about 50 cents. 2 loads a week x 1 month = 4$   
  3. Get a cheaper phone plan. My flip phone cost 14$ a month, and my new smartphone is 25$ (though Republic Wireless)  = 50$  (based on an average US call bill of 75$)
  4. Ride your bike.  Gas saved =3 gallons a week x 1 month 24$

    Bike your way to financial independence
  5. Cook more at home. One less meal eaten out a week = 12.50$ x 1 month =50$
  6. Spend less on internet service by changing providers for a new promotional rate, or getting on the phone and telling them you are going to leave, which usually ends with them extending a lower rate.  =15$
  7. Drive an old, faded, slightly rusty, but still going strong small car. Ditch the car payments.
  8. Go dumpster diving and cut your grocery bill. Only buy what’s on sale. 

    A nice box of dumpstered food
  9. Bring your own bags to the grocery store 3 bags =15 cents x 1 month = 60 cents!
  10. Don’t pay for digital entertainment, all that stuff can be had for free and most of it is garbage anyway.  10$ a month
  11. Make your own coffee. It’s fun and they are lots of inexpensive ways to make a really good cup of joe at home. Just 2 cups at home/ 8 cups a month at 2.50$ = 20$ 
  12. Get a roommate, if you have not do so already. Living with other people is fun and splitting the bills saves you lots of money.
  13. Track your expenses on Mint.com and look for more ways to save!

Point being there are lots of ways to save money, and unless you are truly living hand to mouth, there is likely a way for you to save 375$ dollars a month.